Governor-General opens up his Canberra home to the public
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Governor-General opens up his Canberra home to the public

It was the most attended open house in Canberra on Saturday, but unfortunately, this home was not for sale.

Thousands of people lined up to get a glimpse of the Governor-General's home and the grounds, as Government House opened its doors to the public.

Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove greeting people out the front of Government House.

Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove greeting people out the front of Government House. Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

The official residence in Yarralumla holds its open days twice a year, and under clear blue skies, the first for 2018 eclipsed visitor numbers from last year.

Organisers estimated more than 4000 people streamed through the gates of the 54-hectare property.

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Government House household attendant Roger King.

Government House household attendant Roger King.Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

Unlike most open homes, however, the owners were there to greet the many visitors, with Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove on hand to say hello to guests, many from interstate.

Visitors got the chance to tour many parts of the house's gardens, as well as the opportunity to get an up-close look of the drawing room, dining room and many extravagant hallways.

Among the many staff there on-hand to field questions from curious visitors was household attendant Richard King.

Mr King has served in the role for more than four decades, working alongside 10 Governors-General.

There were long lines of people waiting to get into Government House.

There were long lines of people waiting to get into Government House.Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

"There's been a lot of changings of the guards over the years," he said.

"It's certainly become a very, very friendly place."

Mr King said he came into the role in 1973 through the British Boys' Movement.

While he said Government House was a working house, it was still very much regarded as the "people's house".

"The Governor-General doesn't own the place, the people own the property," Mr King said.

"We have all walks of life come through. We have 20,000 students come through Government House every year from across Australia, and we have Kings or Queens or Presidents come here with they're visiting Australia on their state visits."

The house attendant said he had helped to host many foreign dignitaries during his time in the role, but two stand out the most.

"One of my favourite dignitaries here was Prince William and Kate as well as Prince George, who stayed with us here for five days in 2014," he said.

"I can remember when William was George's age and he came over here with Prince Charles and Princess Diana."

For those who missed out on seeing Government House on Saturday, a second open day is scheduled for spring.

Andrew Brown is a journalist at the Sunday Canberra Times. Andrew has worked at the Canberra Times since 2016.